Travel Stories: Three Days in Dubai with a Baby

3 Days in Dubai with a Baby, Dubai with a baby, visiting Dubai with a baby

There is something about Dubai that absolutely fascinates me. It’s unlikely I’ll get there anytime soon.

So, I’m delighted that Kelly shared her story about visiting Dubai with a baby. Kelly was en route to Australia and had a three-day stopover that also included a visit with mom. What an awesome adventure and a great way to break up a long journey… If you can handle it!

dubai with a baby, dubai with kids, stopover in dubai

3 Days in Dubai with a Baby

I love travel, but if you had told me that I would be in Dubai with a baby, my four-month old baby to be exact, I would have told you were nuts. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even have known exactly where Dubai is on a map (it borders Oman and Saudi Arabia, if you’re still unsure). But when the opportunity presented itself to me, I couldn’t say no.

Why Dubai?

dubai with a baby, dubai with kids, stopover in dubai
The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is spectacular at night | photo by Kelly Burch

For many Western travelers, Dubai is a stopping point.

The international airports in Dubai and neighboring Abu Dhabi (both part of the United Arab Emirates) are hubs for Emirates and Etihad airlines respectively. Americans travelling to India, Asia, or the Pacific have a chance to lay over in this desert oasis.

And that’s exactly how I wound up in Dubai.

My daughter and I were meeting my husband and his family in Brisbane, Australia. When I looked up flights from Boston, it was cheaper (and only slightly more flying time) to travel east, stopping in Dubai, than it was to travel to Australia via Los Angeles like I had done in the past.

Coincidentally, my mother and stepfather had just moved to Dubai. Breaking up the flight and visiting their new home was an obvious choice.

I was hoping for a few days of rest and relaxation. But, in my mind, Dubai was a harsh metropolis, filled with single businessmen from around the globe.

When I arrived my biggest surprise was how family-friendly the city was. Carriages were everywhere, pushed by robed Arab women and stylish foreigners alike. The women who worked in the service industries in Dubai loved cooing over the baby. And everyone – from our flight attendants on Emirates to the staff at the local gelato shops – worked hard to accommodate me and my daughter.

dubai with a baby, dubai with kids, stopover in dubai
I love babywearing. But it only took one short walk along the marina to realize it was just too hot to babywear in Dubai | photo by Kelly Burch

My Itinerary: Three Days in Dubai with a Baby

Day One: The Marina District and JBR…

“Where does your family live?” the customs agent asked when my daughter and I arrived in the UAE. “The marina?” I said, questioning if that was indeed the name of my mother’s neighborhood. “Of course,” the agent replied, giving my daughter’s passport its first stamp and sending us on our way.

The Dubai Marina

The Dubai Marina is a two-mile man-made canal that opens into the Persian Gulf at both ends. The Marina was designed with both tourists and expats in mind. The tall residential buildings along the marina are reflected off the canal’s waters. The whole setup is gorgeous at night, when you’re most likely to be outdoors exploring (it’s simply too hot during the day).

The seven-kilometer Dubai Marina Walk is newly paved and easy to navigate with a stroller. The walk is lined with cafes, restaurants, and high-end stores. My daughter was too young to enjoy the playground, but we did pass swings and slides set up in the shade beneath the bridges that cross that canal. The Marina’s best draw, however, was the people watching: Strolling along the marina we heard more languages than we could count, and saw families from all over the world.

Jumeirah Beach Residence

In the afternoon, we walked from my mom’s apartment on the marina to Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), a mile-long stretch of upscale apartments, hotels, and dining along the shore of the Persian Gulf. I can never resist the water, so we began our afternoon on the beach, watching the construction of Bluewaters Island, a new construction project similar to the famous Atlantis, The Palm.

As a Bostonian I’m used to being shocked by a cool ocean. The waves in Dubai were truly like bath water. I visited in early October, and my mother said that a month before the ocean had been too warm to even be refreshing.

After swimming, we showered and changed in the public restrooms on the beach (like everything in Dubai, they were impeccably clean).

The Walk at JBR features over 300 restaurants and stores, many of them offering outdoor dining overlooking the beach. It was perfect for us to push the stroller directly to the table, and families with toddlers and older kids could certainly benefit from the added space and casual atmosphere of the al fresco dining.

dubai with a baby, dubai with kids, stopover in dubai
Grand Mosque: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is filled with ornate details. | photo by Kelly Burch

Day Two: Abu Dhabi and The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque…

Our second day in Dubai we set off on a road trip to Abu Dhabi, which is about an hour and a half away by car or public bus. While Dubai is young, fast-paced and international, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is an older and more conservative city (I’ve seen it referred to as Dubai’s sophisticated older sister).

Abu Dhabi is well known for its Formula 1 Track, but our destination for the day was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center. The Grand Mosque was designed and planned by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It opened in 2007 as a cultural center to promote respect and understanding between religions. Visitors to the mosque can take a free audio tour. It touches on the tenants of Islam, cultural lessons, and the construction of the impressive monument.

Dress for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

I knew that conservative dress is required in the mosque, so I wore a loosely knit sweater and long pants. I brought a scarf to cover my hair. When we arrived, one of the staff members pointed out that the knit holes in my sweater allowed too much skin. They asked me to wear an abaya (a traditional black robe), which the mosque provided for free. I steadied myself for the stale smell of used clothing. However, the abaya was perfectly clean, and light enough not to be bothersome in the heat. It was fun to have the chance to dress traditionally, since in downtown Dubai you can wear anything you would wear in the U.S.

dubai with a baby, dubai with kids, stopover in dubai
The baby had no trouble making friends throughout our trip, which was especially helpful when I was flying alone with her. | photo by Kelly Burch

It’s clear that the people who work at the mosque respect the sacred nature of the site. Visitors are expected to as well. I was concerned that the baby would fuss, or need to be nursed, disturbing the tranquility of the site.

I didn’t need to worry, however. Babies are a universal language. Tourists from around the world smiled at my daughter. One Chinese woman who spoke no English even scooped her up for a cuddle.

My daughter didn’t need to eat during the time we were at the mosque, but I have no doubt that with all the layers we could have easily nursed without anyone noticing. Or, we could have retreated to the mosque’s impressive bathroom suite (which was a work of art in itself).

After the mosque, where we spent about two hours, we opted to go back to Dubai for another evening at JBR.

Day Three: The Dubai Mall and The Burj Khalifa…

I’m not a woman who likes to be in a mall, but I considered a trip to the Dubai Mall a cultural experience. After all, high-end shopping is what brings many tourists to the city. Depending on whom you ask, the Dubai Mall is either your worst nightmare or a dream come true.

If visiting Dubai with a baby, the mall’s website lists over 60 children’s retailers, plus maternity wear and toy stores. My mom and I filled a morning window shopping for children’s clothing that cost more than our trip to Dubai, in stores like Armani Junior, Dolce & Gabbana Kids, and Gucci Kids. If you’re not a big spender there are also American staples like Gymboree and Build-a-Bear.

The mall also offers plenty of entertainment options, including the Dubai Aquarium, virtual reality experiences, Dubai Dino (where you can get up close to fossils), and a skating rink.

dubai with a baby, dubai with kids, stopover in dubai
Fountain: Everyone was transfixed by the fountain show. | photo by Kelly Burch

The Dubai Fountain

The most impressive attraction, however, is the fountain show in the mall’s courtyard. Numerous people had mentioned the show to me, but I wasn’t prepared to be impressed by water fountains. I was so wrong.

The Dubai Fountain is in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 2, 716.5 feet. The building is spectacular, and even more so at night. The foundation show jets water nearly 500 feet into the air. The routine is choreographed to music from around the world. Simply put, the show is magical, for kids and adults alike (even the baby was enthralled).

There are large crowds, but getting an outdoor table at one the restaurants on the plaza is a great way to guarantee a view.

kelly burch, dubai with a baby, dubai with kids, stopover in dubai

Again, on our last night in the Middle East, I was reminded that everyone loves a baby. Dubai with a baby is no exception. I nursed in one café, subtly but uncovered, and received only smiles in response. Later in the evening, when my daughter spat up all over me, the laughter from the table of veiled Arab women next to us reminded me again that parenthood really is universal.

Kelly Burch is a freelance writer living in New Hampshire, where she is probably planning her next trip. Connect with Kelly on Facebook, or read more of her work at

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Dubai at TripAdvisor

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32 Responses to Travel Stories: Three Days in Dubai with a Baby

  1. Chris at #

    “Dubai with a Baby” – almost sounds like it could be a title for a sitcom or something, haha.

    Cute baby by the way! 🙂

  2. Exactly, Dubai is not only a place for shopping, its a fast growing economy and a fast developing country. soon Dubai will amaze the world with their mega projects. Its a happening live city in wherever you go and also its a society of respect for each other.

  3. Robin at #

    Dubai with a Baby….. How to manage. its completely different experience. Your article is too good.
    Thanks for sharing this great moment with us.

  4. I can’t decide if I want to go to Dubai or not, really, but I agree it’s fascinating!

  5. Tamara at #

    So did you have to take the pink taxis for women traveling alone? My husband spent some time there for work and told me about those (and the Mercedes police cars!) It seems like a fascinating place and I’m disappointed we were never able to accompany him.

  6. JessieV at #

    I love this – your baby is so cute, no wonder everyone loved her so! parenthood IS universal.

  7. Fascinating! What I really want to know is…why did your mom and stepdad move to Dubai?! And are they happy with the move?

  8. The detail in the Grand Mosque is just exquisite! Makes me want to go!

  9. Allison at #

    I have a friend who just moved to Dubai from the U.S. with six children. They love it there! It’s fascinating to learn more about this exotic city. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  10. Dev at #

    Not sure if Dubai would ever be a travel destination for me. But your post defi seemed interesting

  11. Chaya at #

    Oh i love the best city for me to travel with my family 🙂

  12. We also loved Dubai with our 16 weeks son and wrote about it 🙂
    And planning to go back soon with our toddler & new cheeky little monkey 🙂

  13. Farhan at #

    I wish you could put more photos – that would help me make a decision to visit this place with my 5 year old daughter or not. Last trip we took was to Singapore – but she was 2 years – and she doesn’t remember any of that trip.

  14. Yiannis at #

    Holidays in Dubai really does not pass through the mind of all of us and certainly this description you are mentioning, gives a good idea of what to expect. The truth is that my first curiosity to go there was a few years ago, when some friends of mine, working as a pilot and stewardess respectively, told me that they had moved there permanently. Alongside the high salary they secured, they described with great enthusiasm how life can be in Dubai. This really impressed me. The warm climate and luxury of almost everything were dominated in their descriptions. If I may suggest, another famous place for luxury vacations is Mykonos. Mykonos is a beautiful Greek island, where anyone can enjoy top rated holidays in very delicately places. Try searching for professional real estate agencies in this island for a nice Villa for rent or sale.

  15. ahmed zaheer at #

    I also traveled with my 7 months old. Dubai is a completely baby friendly city. I do recommend that you take light weight push chair with you. Because there is a lot of walk in malls and parks etc. Push chairs can also be used to hang your travelling bags.

    There are baby changing and feeding rooms almost everywhere and baby food, diapers etc are very cheap.

    I even took my son to Bryan Adams concert and we really enjoyed it. He slept through the entire concert :p

    • Corinne at #

      Great to hear, Ahmed–thanks for your comment!

    • Samina Yaamin at #

      Thank you for sharing your ecperiences.. I am planing to take my little one in december.. She will be 9months old by then. Hope she ll njoy.

    • MHK niazi at #

      Can you please tell me , if there are any specific type of taxis that we need to book when we are travelling with out 16 momth old baby, like one with a baby seat, or we can hire any one and they will have it by default?

    • Shoira at #

      Hi Ahmed! Going with my 5 months old soon. You talked about a push chair for baby, can we rent those? Or do we gotta bring it with us?

  16. Nora at #

    Am travelling there next month with my 1 year old baby. I was wondering about transportation with a baby ? If i am not taking my car seat with me, how can i go from one palce to another? Any idea ?

    • Corinne at #

      It was recently ruled that all taxi, limo, and Uber services in Dubai had to have car seats available, which I think is great news and one less thing to worry about for traveling parents!

    • Mhk niazi at #

      Same question here

  17. Helene at #

    Hi, I have the same question as Nora? How do you transport baby from one spot to another? Without a car seat? Please help?

  18. Cath at #

    Thank you for the reassurance! We are waiting for our flight from LHR with our 11m old baby girl. Now feel a sense of calm as everything I’ve heard seems to be true!

  19. Shedi at #

    Hi, I am currently based in Dubai, I am your avid reader of your blog since then and somehow you influence me to write my first Blog about Dubai Backpackers Guide:

    I would like to commend you for a very good job in every blog that you’ve made. Thank you for inspiring us!

    Hope you will make more blog!

  20. Rebecca at #

    Any concerns about vaccinations of MMR before traveling there?

  21. Pawna at #

    Your blog is really beautiful. I really enjoyed reading it. I am sharing this blog with my friends. Thanks for sharing.

  22. I have read many blog s for Dubai however this is a very unique. We tried to make a family trip to Dubai however could not succeed in it. After reading this blog I came to know that how difficult it is to keep a baby with all the hurdles. I will now travel to Dubai with my family in the next month itself. I have found many places to visit in Dubai with family, as soon as the pandemic is over we will be planning a family trip to Dubai. Don’t forget to apply a Dubai visa for you and your family so that you have a hassle free travel.

  23. Very well written Kelly. It’s indeed a great piece of information for new comers to Dubai

  24. Usman at #

    The first thing you should know outright is that Dubai is an INCREDIBLY family-friendly place to visit. There might be a few little (or large) differences to your home country to be aware of, especially if you have not visited a Muslim country before, but there is nothing that adventurous family travellers cannot tackle.

  25. Great Article, I have personally been to UAE many times with a child and it always been accommodating and never had any issues or challenges.

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